What is Nature?

For most of my life I have been immersed in the natural world.  My early memories are of mud, water, ferns, tide-pools, insects, birds, amphibians, and trees to climb.  Nature surrounds us, enfolds us, and directs our lives in ways we often fail to realize.

Despite our reliance on computers, cars, oil, and all the rest, and the damage our irresponsible use of these things has done to our planet and ourselves, these things all derive from nature.  The location of oil deposits are a relic of past distributions of plant and microbial life. Distribution of plants, animals, and other resources such as iron, gold, and bauxite deposits are a product of geology, which in turn is a result of solar system formation.  At each step we can look a little further back and deeper into the picture and see more of nature and how it affects us physically and socially.

Gold comes from supernovae, thus, indirectly, the Spanish conquering of Central and South America was, in part, due to the interaction of gravity, nuclear fusion, and the age of the universe.  Stars that become supernova are a result of the specific balance of elementary forces in our universe.

Tools are made in the shapes they are due to the evolutionary forces that shaped our bodies, which in turn are a result of the same elementary forces that lead to supernovae and the creation of gold.  Toast more often lands butter-side down because of the height of our tables.  The height of our tables is determined by our height, which is limited by the physical constraints imposed by the molecular bonds that hold the component pieces of our bodies together under the influence of one standard Earth gravity.  Toast falls butter-side down because of the strength of our bones.

This is nature, just as much as the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a Monarch butterfly, and the many thousand mile migration of those butterflies to a forest in northern Mexico.

There is not just a whole world to explore, there is a whole universe to explore, perhaps more than one.  In this blog I intend to explore those bits I can reach, physically or mentally.

I hope you enjoy what emerges on these pages.

Bristol Pond, Vermont

2 comments on “What is Nature?

  1. John Wormuth says:

    Somehow I stumbled onto your site while searching for an image on the geographical distribution of impact craters on the earth. Your photos are spectacular and I truly hope to return to your narratives – I was born and raised in Schenectady, NY, and spend many weekends fishing in the Adirondacks. I am an oceanographer by profession, but also a birdwatcher.

    I would like to use your impact figure in a textbook I am currently writing – is there any possibility I could do that? Thanks.

    • EarthKnight says:

      Hello John,

      Thank you for your kind comments. My mom’s side of the family is from Albany, NY, not far from where you’re from.

      I’ve been really busy recently and haven’t had a chance to write as much as I’d like, but fully intend to continue doing so.

      The distribution map is from http://www.meteorimpactonearth.com/, you’d have to ask them about using the image.

      There is an excellent Google Earth KMZ file showing all confirmed impact sites available here: http://www.gearthblog.com/kmfiles/impacts.kmz

      The frequency table (which may or may not be showing – it’s kind of erratic) is from geology.com

      Finally, if you have not read the John Lewis book, Rain of Iron and Ice, i highly recommend it.

      Good luck with your book, and let me know when it’s finished!

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